Squiz Today / 18 March 2021
Squiz Today – Thursday, 18 March
“I want to be the person in charge of spray painting the lines on the water for the America’s Cup races.”
Tweeted one yacht race fan of the hi-tech Auckland course that hosted a win by Team New Zealand yesterday to claim the trophy for the 2nd time on the trot and the 4th time since 1995. Although this year they didn't sail as much as fly…
COVID VACCINES IN HIGH DEMAND
If it was the launch of a new pair of fancy sneakers or a delicious speciality snack, it would be declared a sold-out smash-hit. But for Aussies aged over 70yo, Indigenous people aged over 55yo, adults with a specified medical condition and essential workers who took the first opportunity to arrange their COVID shots yesterday, there was frustration and confusion.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Many GP clinics said they were unaware that Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was releasing the 1,000-plus clinics’ details to the public yesterday, and some said they didn’t know they had been approved for the program. So with phones ringing off the hook with eager COVID-dodgers looking to book their jabs, GPs said they were having “to put people off." Other clinics said they would be ready to roll from Monday to start vaccinating the '1b' group of 6 million eligible Aussies. For his part, Hunt said that clinics listed on the Health Department's website had "not only been approved - but they have made orders themselves" to receive the doses to kick off from next week.
AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WEEK?
Ok, some expectations management: most GP practices will receive 50-100 doses next week. And some clinics listed on the Department’s site won’t take bookings until the vaccine arrives and they know what they’re working with. "You do need to be patient, this is a slow and steady start," Australian Medical Association President Omar Korshid said. Patient or not - check here first for a good reccie of the process.
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HELP FOR PAPUA NEW GUINEA
In response to an overwhelming wave of new COVID infections, PM Scott Morrison yesterday said Australia will send 8,000 doses of our COVID vaccine supply to PNG next week to vaccinate frontline medical workers. He will also ask AstraZeneca and regulators to send 1 million doses contracted to Australia to the country ASAP. Europe's powers that be have clamped down on the exporting of COVID vaccines given shortfalls there, but Morrison says there's a case to be made for "a developing country in desperate need of these vaccines." All flights between Oz and PNG have been suspended given the "very real risk to Australia." Labor's Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the government has been too slow to act. “We all know how close we are to PNG, and we've seen this highly risky situation unfolding for some time now," she said.
EIGHT DEAD IN ATLANTA SHOOTING
Following an hours-long manhunt, a 21yo man was arrested yesterday near Atlanta, Georgia, after 8 people were shot dead. No motive has been established, but reports say the attack could be racially motivated because many of those targeted were Asian women at a massage parlour and 2 spas. Authorities say it's too early to say it's a hate crime with another theory surfacing overnight that says accused killer Robert Long had a "sexual addiction" and he was attempting to eliminate the source of his problem. The murders come as attacks against Asian-Americans are on the rise, with US President Joe Biden last week appealing to perpetrators to stop.
SPY GAMES IN US AND OZ
US President Joe Biden thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer and told him that "he will pay a price" for attempts to undermine America’s democracy. His comments follow the release of a declassified intelligence report into foreign interference in the 2020 US presidential election yesterday that said Russia attempted to "denigrate" Biden's candidacy. Aside from Russia, the report says Iran made attempts to meddle, but China did not. Election meddling will remain an “enduring challenge” into the future, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said.
Meanwhile, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation boss Mike Burgess delivered his annual report on the nation’s security threats last night, saying a "nest of spies" was uncovered and dealt with last year. Refusing to name the country behind the attempts to infiltrate government, politics and police ranks, speculation within the intelligence community points to Russia, reports say. Burgess also said it’s no longer correct to refer to ‘right-wing’ and ‘left-wing’ extremism because the rise of ideologically-driven violent extremism is too nuanced.
BANK BUYS INTO BUY NOW, PAY LATER
Which bank? The Commonwealth Bank will launch its own buy now, pay later (BNPL) product in the coming months with the youngsters going crazy for the credit facility. Going head to head with Afterpay, Zip Pay, Humm and others, the bank's eligible customers will be able to make any debit or credit card purchases between $100 and $1,000 and repay it in 4 fortnightly instalments. If a payment is missed, customers will be charged a $10 fee - but there will be no interest charges or monthly/annual account fees. Some popular BNPL merchants that have come under fire for their lending standards, but CBA says it would only allow customers who had passed credit checks to use their service. CommBank becomes the first big 4 to offer the service. Still confused about how it all works? You can find a good explainer here.
Was summer really just 2.5 weeks ago? There are floods and heavy rain across parts of Queensland and NSW - and Australia’s east is set for more sogginess... About 3 times as much rain is expected in the coming week as would usually fall over the entirety of March in parts. It comes as Sydney and Adelaide yesterday recorded their coldest morning temperatures this early in the year for 27 years, dropping to 9.4C and 12.2C respectively. Largely missing the deluge is central and southern WA, which is set to sizzle through a heatwave from Friday with the temperature expected to reach up to 38C. Take care wherever you are - we worry about you.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
A bird singing the wrong song is doing himself out of existence because his ladies only know him by his native warble. Even across species, clearly communicating is everything…
There's a coffee craze going through several Gulf states - serving the beverages in baby bottles. We don't want to get all Freudian on you, but some say it has something to do with the stress of the pandemic...
But on the good innovation front - an app that interrupts your Zoom meeting with a noise so terrible those you’re talking to will want you to hang up. Called Zoom Escaper, its founder Sam Lavigne says his aim “is that people use it to escape Zoom calls and do less work.” Genius.
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.25pm (AEDT) - 2021 AFL season commences with Richmond v Carlton - Melbourne
ABS Data Release - Labour Force, February
Close The Gap Day
Birthdays for Queen Latifah (1970), Adam Levine (1979) and Lily Collins (1989),
• the first-ever public ‘bus’ service operating in Paris (1662)
• Mahatma Gandhi being sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for disobedience (1922)
• the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty Org (NATO) (1949)
• Alexey Leonov becoming the first person to walk in space (1965)
• the deaths of actor Natasha Richardson (2009), musician Chuck Berry (2017) and Dr Catherine Hamlin (2020)
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